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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Matthew 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1. ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις. See Luke 3:1, where the time is defined.

Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής. So named by the other Synoptists and by Josephus: in the fourth gospel he is called simply John, a note of the authenticity of St John’s gospel. Josephus mentions the great influence of John and speaks of the crowds that flocked to hear him preach and to be baptized of him. He says John taught men ἀρετὴν ἐπασκοῦντας καὶ τῇ πρὸς ἀλλήλους δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν εὐσεβείᾳ χρωμένους βαπτισμῷ συνιέναι· οὕτως γὰρ καὶ τὴν βάπτισιν ἀποδεκτὴν αὐτῷ φανεῖσθαι, μὴ ἐπί τινων ἁμαρτάδων παραιτήσει χρωμένων ἀλλʼ ἐφʼ ἁγνείᾳ τοῦ σώματος ἅτε δὴ καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς δικαιοσύνῃ προεκκεκαθαρμένης. Ant. XVIII. Matthew 3:2. Compare this view of John’s baptism by the Pharisee Josephus with John’s own statement of the end of baptism—εἰς μετάνοιαν (Matthew 3:11).

κηρύσσων. Heralding, a word appropriate to the thought of the proclamation of a King.

ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας, i.e. the uncultivated Eastern frontier of Judah. The term also includes the cliffs and Western shore of the Dead Sea. In this wild and nearly treeless district there were formerly a few cities, and there are still some luxuriant spots. See Tristram’s Topog. of H. L. Ch. IV.

The wilderness has a threefold significance (α) as the desolate scene of John’s ascetic life, (β) as the battle-field of the Temptation (see notes ch. 4), (γ) as the pathway of the Royal Advent. In this last aspect John fitly appears in the wilderness as the herald of a promised deliverance foreshadowed by two great prophetic types—the deliverance from Egypt (Numbers 23:21-22; Psalms 68:4-7), and the deliverance from Babylon, each associated with a march through the desert. Isaiah speaks of both (ch. Isaiah 43:18-19), ‘Remember not the former things, and the things of ancient times regard not’ (the return from Egypt). ‘Behold I make a new thing … yea, I will make in the wilderness a way’ (the return from Babylon). See Bp Lowth on Isaiah 40.


Verses 1-12

1–12. JOHN BAPTIST PREACHES IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDÆA

Mark 1:2-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:15-34

St Matthew alone names the coming of the Pharisees and Sadducees. St Mark’s brief account contains no additional particulars. St Luke adds the special directions to the various classes—people—publicans and soldiers. The fourth gospel reports more fully the Baptist’s disclaimer of Messiahship—he recognises the Messiah by the descent of the Holy Spirit—he points him out as the Lamb of God. Again (ch. Luke 3:25-36) John shows his own disciples the true relation between Christ and himself—Christ is the Bridegroom, John is the friend of the Bridegroom.


Verse 2

2. μετανοεῖτε. More than ‘feel sorrow or regret for sin,’ it is rather ‘change the life, the heart, the motive for action.’ It was a call to self-examination and reality of life.

ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. St Matthew alone uses this expression, but he also employs the equivalent phrase, ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, in common with the other N.T. writers. In itself the expression was not new. It connected itself in Jewish thought with the theocracy—the direct rule of God—of which the earthly Kingdom was a shadow. It implied the reign of the Messiah (cp. Daniel 7:14). It became the watchword of the zealots ‘no king but God.’ Jesus took up the word and gave it a new deep and varied spiritual significance, which is rather illustrated than defined.

The principal meanings of the Kingdom of Heaven in N.T. are [1] The presence of Christ on earth. [2] His Second Advent. [3] His influence in the heart. [4] Christianity, (a) as a Church, (b) as a faith. [5] The life eternal.


Verse 3

3. διά. See note on ch. Matthew 2:5.

διὰ Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου. The reference in Isaiah 40:3 is to the promised return from Babylon. A herald shall proclaim the joyous news on mountains and in the desert through which the return should be. This incident in the national history is transferred to the more glorious deliverance from bondage and to the coming of the true King.

With the exception of αὐτοῦ for τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν the quotation follows the LXX., as, with few exceptions, in passages cited by all the Synoptists. Bp Lowth’s version of the Hebrew is: ‘A voice crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a high way for our God,’ where the parallelism is more perfect than in the Greek versions.

φωνή. The message is more than the messenger, the prophet’s personality is lost in the prophetic voice.

εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους. The image would be familiar to Eastern thought, a Semiramis or a Xerxes orders the mountains to be levelled or cut through, and causeways to be raised in the valleys. Cp. Diod. Sic. II. 101, διόπερ τούς τε κρημνοὺς κατακόψασα (Semiramis) καὶ τοὺς κοίλους τόπους χώσασα σύντομον καὶ πολυτελῆ κατεσκεύασεν ὁδόν.


Verse 4

4. τὸ ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ κ.τ.λ. A kind of tunic or shirt coarsely woven of camel’s hair, ‘one of the most admirable materials for clothing, it keeps out the heat, cold and rain.’ Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 445.

ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον. Thomson, Land and Book, pp. 419, 420, states that though tolerated, as an article of food, only by the very poorest people, locusts are still eaten by the Bedawin. Burckhardt mentions having seen locust shops at Medina and Tayf. After being dried in the sun the locusts are eaten with butter and honey. Sometimes they are sprinkled with salt and either boiled or roasted. Thomson adds that wild honey is still gathered from trees in the wilderness and from rocks in the Wadies.

Diod. Sic., speaking of the Nabatæans, an Arabian tribe living near this very region, says part of their fare was μέλι πολὺ τὸ καλούμενον ἄγριον ᾧ χρῶνται ποτῷ μεθʼ ὕδατος. The clothing and dress of John were in fact those of the poorest of his fellow countrymen. The description would recall—is probably intended to recall—that of Elijah, 2 Kings 1:8.


Verse 6

6. ἐβαπτίζοντο were ‘immersed;’ (the tense marks the successive instances). βαπτίζω, a strengthened form of βάπτω, like some other leading Christian words (e.g. Χριστός, ἀγάπη, μετάνοια), is rare in the Classics; it is used in different figurative senses by Plato, e.g. of a boy ‘drowned with questions,’ Euthyd. 277 D in Polyb. literally of ships sinking, in Diod. Sic. both literally and metaphorically: ὁ ποταμὸς πολλοὺς ἐβάπτιζε, II. 143; and οὐ βαπτίζουσι ταῖς εἰσφοραῖς τοὺς ἰδιώτας, I. 85. Note the revival of the literal meaning in the later stage of the language.

In baptizing John introduced no new custom, for ceremonial ablution or baptism was practised in all ancient religions. Cp. Soph. Aj. 654–656, ἀλλʼ εἶμι πρός τε λουτρὰ καὶ παρακτίους | λειμῶνας, ὡς ἂν λύμαθʼ ἁγνίσας ἐμὰ | μῆνιν βαρεῖαν ἐξαλύξωμαι θεᾶς, where see Prof. Jebb’s note. Among the Jews proselytes were baptized on admission to the Mosaic covenant. John’s baptism was the outward sign of the purification and ‘life-giving change,’ and contained the promise of forgiveness of sins. Christ too adopted the ancient custom and enriched it with a new significance, and a still mightier efficacy. From the history of the word it is clear that the primitive idea of baptism was immersion. This was for long the only recognised usage in the Christian Church, and much of the figurative force was lost when sprinkling was substituted for immersion. The convert who entered the clear rushing stream, soiled, weary, and scorched by the hot Eastern sun, and then after being hidden from the sight for a few moments ‘buried in baptism’ reappeared, fresh, vigorous, and cleansed, having put off ‘the filth of the flesh,’ seemed indeed to have risen to a new and purified life in Christ. ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ποταμῷ. Two points on the Jordan are named in John. See note on Matthew 3:13.

ἐξομολογεῖσθαι. ‘To acknowledge or declare fully,’ used either [1] of confession as here, and Mark 1:5; Acts 19:18; or [2] of thanks and praise as in ch. Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; Romans 15:9.


Verse 7

7. Φαρισαίων. The name signifies ‘Separatists;’ the party dates from the revival of the National life, and observances of the Mosaic Law under the Maccabees. Their ruling principle was a literal obedience to the written law and to an unwritten tradition. Originally they were leaders of a genuine reform. But in the hands of less spiritual successors their system had become little else than a formal observance of carefully prescribed rules. ‘The real virtues of one age become the spurious ones of the next.’ Prof. Mozley, Sermon on Pharisees. The ‘hypocrisy’ of the Pharisees, which stifled conscience and made them ‘incapable of repentance,’ is the special sin of the day rebuked more than any other by the Saviour.

Politically they were the popular party, supporters of an isolating policy, who would make no terms with Rome or any other foreign power. The Zealots may be regarded as the extreme section of the Pharisees.

The Sadducees were the aristocratic and priestly party, they acquiesced in foreign rule, and foreign civilisation. They refused to give the same weight as the Pharisees to unwritten tradition, but adhered strictly to the written law of Moses. Their religious creed excluded belief in a future life, or in angels and spirits (Acts 23:8). The name is probably derived from Zadok the priest in David’s time. Others with less probability connect it with Zadok, a disciple of Antigonus of Socho, who lived in the second century B.C. The derivation from tsaddik (righteous) is untenable.

γεννήματα, ‘offspring,’ ‘brood,’ of vipers.

ἐχιδνῶν. ἔχιδνα not the ‘seeing creature,’ ὄφις (see note ch. Matthew 10:16), but lit. the pernicious and dangerous beast that ‘strangles;’ from the same root as anguis, ‘ango’ (Curtius, Etym.). The word suggests the harmful teaching of the Pharisees that ‘strangled’ truth.

φυγεῖν ἀπὸ. Cp. ἀπὸ Σκύλλης φεύγειν. Xen. Mem. II. p. 31.

τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς. Cp. τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης. 1 Thessalonians 1:10. ὀργή, or ‘wrath,’ is the human conception by which the divine attitude towards sin is ‘expressed;’ hence, the divine judgment upon sin. Cp. Romans 2:5, θησαυρίζεις σεαυτῷ ὀργὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς καὶ δικαιοκρισίας τοῦ θεοῦ; Revelation 11:18, ἦλθεν ἡ ὀργή σου; and Luke 21:23, ὀργὴ τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ, of the divine judgment in relation to the fall of Jerusalem. ὀργὴ belongs rather to the O.T. than to the New. It does not occur again in this gospel, and is very rare in the others. But St Paul frequently introduces the conception of ὀργὴ in illustration of δικαιοσύνη, cp. Romans 1:17-18, δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἀποκαλύπτεταιἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ κ.τ.λ.

For this judicial sense of ὀργὴ in Classical Greek cp. τὸ τρίτον ὕδωρ ἐγχεῖται τῇ τιμήσει καὶ τῷ μεγέθει τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ὑμετέρας, Plato Lys. XXIII. 4. 8; and Strabo c. 67, 4, ἐλεγχόμενος δʼ ὑπὸ τῶν κατηγόρων ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἀντωνίου παρῃτεῖτο τὴν ὀργήν. ‘Fleeing from the wrath to come’ implies agreeing with God’s view of sin and therefore ‘repentance’ or change of heart.


Verse 8

8. ποιήσατε. Aorist imperative, denoting complete and immemediate action. See Donaldson Gk. Gram. 427 (a).

μετάνοια. Rare in classical writers, joined by Thuc. with ἀναλογισμός (III. 36). Cp. also μετάνοια δεινὴ τοὺς Ἀθηναίους καὶ πόθος ἔσχε τοῦ Κιμῶνος, and Plut. p. 452, ἡ νουθεσία καὶ ὁ ψόγος ἐμποιεῖ μετάνοιαν καὶ αἰσχύνην. The meaning deepens with Christianity. It is not adequately translated by ‘repentance.’ The marginal reading of A.V. ‘amendment of life’ is better. It implies that revolution in the religious life which Christianity effected and still effects. It is the starting point in the faith—a rudimentary doctrine: μὴ πάλιν θεμέλιον καταβαλλόμενοι μετανοίας ἀπὸ νεκρῶν ἔργων. Hebrews 6:1. The Vulgate translates μετάνοια ‘pœnitentia,’ Beza’s rendering, resipiscentia, raised a stormy controversy. Neither word entirely covers μετάνοια, which implies both sorrow for the past and change of heart.


Verse 9

9. μὴ δόξητε λέγειν, ‘do not presume to say.’ For this use of δοκεῖν cp. Philippians 3:4, εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἄλλος πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί, ἐγὼ μᾶλλον.

πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ. The Jewish doctors taught that no one who was circumcised should enter Gehenna.

ἐκ τῶν λίθων. Stones are regarded as the most insensate, the furthest removed from life of created things. May there not be a play on the words banim (children) abanim (stones)?


Verse 10

10. μὴ ποιοῦν, ‘if it bring not forth.’

ἐκκόπτεται, ‘is being cut down,’ the work has already begun. ἐκκόπτειν, used specially of cutting down trees. Cp. ἔκκοψον αὐτήν, Luke 13:7, and πίτυς μούνη πάντων δενδρέων ἐκκοπεῖσα βλαστὸν οὐδένα μετίει, Hdt. VI. 37. ἐκ denotes completion of act.

καρπὸν καλόν. The Oriental values trees only as productive of fruit, all others are cut down as cumberers of the ground. He lays his axe literally at the root. Land and Book, p. 341.


Verse 11

11. ἐν ὕδατι. Either [1] ‘in water,’ the surrounding element is water; or better [2] ‘with water,’ ἐν being used of the instrument as frequently in Hellenistic Greek. Cp. ἐν μαχαιρᾷ ἀπολοῦνται, ch. Matthew 26:52. ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε; Mark 9:50. And occasionally in the classical period, as ἐν τόμᾳ σιδάρου, Soph. Tr. 887, ‘by cutting with steel,’ and ἐν κερτομίοις γλώσσαις, Ant. 961, ‘with reviling tongue.’ See Campbell’s Soph. on the last passage. The best supported reading ὕδατι in the parallel passage, Mark 1:8, is in favour of the instrumental sense here, but the other would not be excluded from the mind of a Greek reader.

εἰς, ‘with a view to.’ εἰς with a noun = a final sentence. In order that we may live the changed life.

τὰ ὑποδήματα βαστάσαι. The work of the meanest slaves (a pedibus pueri). John, great prophet as he was, with influence sufficient to make even Herod tremble for his throne, is unworthy to be the meanest slave of the Stronger One—the Son of God.

This figure gives to αὐτὸς its proper force, the ‘Master,’ in contrast with the slave.

ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ. It must be remembered that the matured Christian conception of the Holy Ghost would not be present to the mind of John. Some of his disciples at Ephesus said to St Paul, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost,’ Acts 19:2.

πνεῦμα is the Greek representative of Hebr. ruach which meant ‘breath’ or ‘wind.’ This then was the earthly likeness or parable by which the thought of the Holy Spirit was brought home to men. In the O.T. πνεῦμα signifies, [1] Breath [2] Wind [3] Spirit or soul—the invisible and immortal part of a man conceived as breathed into him by God, called πνοὴν ζωῆς, Genesis 4:7. [4] The faculty of thought and volition; this is either (α) evil or (β) good, cp. καὶ πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἀπέστη ἀπὸ Σαούλ, καὶ ἔπνιγεν αὐτὸν πνεῦμα πονηρὸν παρὰ Κυρίου. [5] The highest spiritual intelligence; the faculty of insight. [6] The divine Personal Spirit. Of these meanings classical Greek hardly includes more than [1] and [2], but cp. Soph. Œd. Col. 612, where πνεῦμα = ‘feeling,’ and the beautiful cognate expression ἠνεμόεν φρόνημα, ‘wind-swift thought,’ Ant. 354. In the N.T. the sense of ‘wind’ has nearly passed away, except in immediate connection with the figurative application, as John 3:8, τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, κ.τ.λ., but the thought of the wind is never quite lost sight of in the derived meaning, and the verbs used in connection with the various senses of πνεῦμα often recall the original sense of the word; nor could any natural phenomenon more strikingly illustrate the manifestations of the Holy Spirit than the viewless, searching, all-penetrating force of wind, or than the breath of man, which is the essence of life and of speech. In a sense the Holy Spirit not only gives but is the highest life of the soul, and the divine prophetic breath. (Acts 4:25.)

It may be further noted that as ruach, the Hebr. equivalent for πνεῦμα, was the only generic term for ‘wind,’ the figurative or parabolic sense would be more vividly present to the Jew than to the Greek, whose language possesses other words for ‘wind,’ e.g. ἄνεμος is often used in the LXX. to translate ruach in this sense.

In the Latin ‘spiritus’ the thought of ‘breathing’ would be retained throughout the derived senses, but not that of ‘wind.’ In English the thought of the Spirit of God and the thought of the movement of air or of breath are kept separate as far as language goes. It is therefore needful to recall the original image. For the literal meaning of a word is often a parable through which the knowledge of the unseen is approached.

πυρί. This metaphor implies: [1] Purification, [2] Fiery zeal or enthusiasm, [3] Enlightenment; all which are gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the ancient hymn by Robert II. of France the third point is brought out:

“Et emitte cælitus

Lucis tuæ radium

Veni lumen cordium.”


Verse 12

12. πτύον, also called λικμός or λίκνον, Lat. vannus, was the instrument by which the corn after being threshed was thrown up against the wind to clear it of chaff. Cp. Il. XIII. 588–90.

ὡς δʼ ὃτʼ ἀπὸ πλατέος πτυόφιν μεγάλην κατʼ ἀλωὴν

θρώσκωσιν κύαμοι μελανόχροες ἢ ἐρέβινθοι

πνοιῇ ὑπὸ λιγυρῇ καὶ λικμητῆρος ἐρωῇ.

αὐτοῦαὐτοῦαὐτοῦ. The thrice repeated αὐτοῦ marks forcibly what are Christ’s—the hand, the floor, and the corn are His, but the chaff is not His. Cp. a similar prominence given to the sense of possession, Luke 12:18-19.

ἅλωνα. (From a root signifying ‘whirl,’ &c.) ‘A threshing-floor,’ a broad flat place, usually on a rocky hill-top exposed to the breeze, or in a wind-swept valley. ἅλωνα is here put for the contents of the threshing-floor, the mingled grain and chaff. Observe how the thought of the πνεῦμα ἅγιον and the πῦρ rises again in this verse, a different use being made of the metaphor. It is the divine wind—the Spirit of God that clears the grain (‘Thou shalt fan them and the wind shall carry them away.’ Isaiah 41:16); and the divine fire that burns the chaff.

The separation by Christ’s winnowing fan is sometimes a separation between individuals, sometimes a separation between the good and evil in the heart of a man or in a society or nation.

ἄχυρον. Cp. Aristoph. Ach. 471, 472.

ἀλλʼ ἐσμὲν αὐτοὶ νῦν γε περιεπτισμένοι

τοὺς γὰρ μετοίκους ἄχυρα τῶν ἀστῶν λέγω.

The ‘metics’ are the worthless ‘residuum’ of the citizens.

St Matthew represents the picturesque side of John’s preaching. These verses are full of imagery, the vipers, the stones, the trees, the slave, the threshing-floor, are all used to illustrate his discourse. St Luke throws into prominence the great teacher’s keen discrimination of character. St John has recorded a fragment of the Baptist’s deeper teaching as to the nature and mission of the Son of God.


Verse 13

13. ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην. Probably at “Ænon near to Salim” (John 3:23), a day’s journey from Nazareth, ‘close to the passage of the Jordan near Succoth and far away from that near Jericho.’ Sinai and Palestine, p. 311. Cp. also John 1:28, where the correct reading is: ταῦτα ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐγένετο πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, ὅπου ἦν ὁ Ἰωάννης βαπτίζων. Lt. Conder (Tent Work in Palestine, II. 67) states that ‘Bathania was the well-known form used in the time of Christ of the old name Bashan.’ He adds that the name Abârah is given by the natives to one of the main fords ‘where the Jalûd river, flowing down the Valley of Jezreel, and by Beisân (Bethshean) debouches into the Jordan.’ This accounts for the reading ‘Bethabara,’ and probably fixes the site.

τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι. For construction see note, ch. Matthew 2:13. Jesus who is the pattern of the New life submits to the baptism which is a symbol of the New life (μετάνοια). He who has power to forgive sins seems to seek through baptism forgiveness of sins. But in truth by submitting to baptism Jesus shows the true efficacy of the rite. He who is most truly man declares what man may become through baptism—clothed and endued with the Holy Spirit, and touched by the fire of zeal and purity.

There is no hint in the Gospel narratives of that beautiful companionship and intercourse in childhood between Jesus and the Baptist with which Art has familiarised us. See John 1:31, a passage which tends to an opposite conclusion.


Verses 13-17

13–17. JESUS COMES TO BE BAPTIZED OF JOHN

Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34.

St Luke adds two particulars: that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus [1] “in a bodily shape,” and [2] “while He was praying.”

In the fourth Gospel, where John Baptist’s own words are quoted, the act of baptism is not named; a touch of the Baptist’s characteristic humility.


Verse 14

14. διεκώλυεν, ‘was preventing,’ or, ‘endeavoured to prevent.’


Verse 15

15. ἀποκριθείς. ἀποκρίνομαι is the Attic word in this sense. (ὑποκρίνοιντο, Thuc. VII. 4, is a possible exception.) ὑποκρίνομαι Homeric and Ionic. Alexandrine Greek here, contrary to the general rule, follows the Attic rather than the Homeric use. ὑποκρίνομαι occurs once only in the N.T. (Luke 20:20), and there in the sense of ‘feigning.’ The aor. 1. passive (ἀποκριθείς) in middle sense is late. It occurs in Plato Alc. II. 149 B, but the genuineness of that dialogue is doubtful; see Lid. and Scott. The aor. 1. mid. is rare in the N.T. See ch. Matthew 27:12.

ἄφες. Sc. ἐμὲ βαπτισθῆναι.

ἡμῖν, us. It was the privilege of John to share the work of the Messiah.

δικαιοσύνην. Here = ‘the requirements of the law.’


Verse 16

16. οἱ οὐρανοί. A literal translation of the Hebrew word, which is a plural form.

καὶ εἶδεν. We should infer from the text that the vision was to Jesus alone, but the Baptist also was a witness as we learn from John 1:32, “And John bare record, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” This was to John the sign by which the Messiah should be recognised.


Verse 17

17. φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν. Thrice during our Lord’s ministry it is recorded that a voice from heaven came to Him. The two other occasions were at the Transfiguration and in the week of the Passion (John 12:28).

ἀγαπητός, in the Gospels always in reference to Christ the beloved Son of God, (Mark 12:6 and Luke 20:13 cannot be regarded as exceptions). In this connection it is closely related to μονογενής, cp. John 1:14-18; John 3:16-18. (ἀγαπητὸς does not occur in the fourth Gospel.) Genesis 22:2, λάβε τὸν υἱόν σου τὸν ἀγαπητόν. The Scholiast on Il. VI. 401, Ἑκτορίδην ἀγαπητόν, notes the same connection. See Bp Lightfoot on Colossians 1:13.

In the Epistles the word is applied to the Christian brotherhood united by the common bond of ἀγάπη.

εὐδοκεῖν. A late word (see Sturz. de dial. Mac. 168) not found in the Attic writers, constructed [1] with the infinitive in the sense of ‘to be pleased,’ i.e. ‘to resolve,’ εὐδοκοῦμεν μᾶλλον ἐκδημῆσαι, 2 Corinthians 5:8; [2] with accusative (see ch. Matthew 12:18), ‘to be pleased with,’ ‘take delight in:’ ὁλοκαυτώματα οὐκ εὐδόκησας, Hebrews 10:8; εὐδόκησας, κύριε, τὴν γῆν σου, Psalms 84:1; [3] with εἰς and ἐν with the same meaning as [2] or ‘to be pleased in,’ i.e. to place one’s purpose, decision, or resolution in a thing or person. Here the sense is: My Son, the Beloved in whom my pleasure rests, in whom my plan for the salvation of mankind is centred. Cp. Ephesians 1:9, γνωρίσας ἡμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν αὐτοῦ ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὐτῷ. εὐδοκεῖν answers to εὐδοκίαν προθέσθαι.

 


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"Commentary on Matthew 3:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/matthew-3.html. 1896.

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